“Life ran back and forth, land into people and people back into land, until both were the same.” –Lura Beam, A Maine Hamlet
Last Sunday, we had very cold weather and eight inches of snow, both standard for Maine in January. Then yesterday, the temperature shot up to 49° Fahrenheit, and the rain came bucketing down, rapping against the windows, slanting into our faces, soaking our coats as we did errands.
Before we left to do errands, Clif threw sunflower seeds on the snow for the ground feeders, which are often birds but in this case were squirrels.
Then the wind came, fortunately not strong enough to knock out our power but strong enough to make it difficult to open our car doors as we went to the various stores.
Last night the rain stopped, the temperature dropped to freezing, and this is what we woke up to.
First, the good. Our front steps are completely clear of ice and snow, no small thing in our shady yard.
Second, the not so good. Our driveway is glare ice.
As are the walkways to and in the backyard.
And the snowbanks are as hard, dirty, and ugly as they are in March. Except this is January.
I started this post with a quotation from the remarkable Lura Beam, a Maine native, writer, educator, and researcher. According to Wikepedia, “Her interests included the poor, minorities, women, education, and the arts. She co-authored two books discussing medical studies on sex adjustment and sex education with Robert Latou Dickinson, and a noted memoir of growing up in turn-of-the-century Marshfield, Maine. She was the long-time companion of Louise Stevens Bryant. ”
Lura Beam is perhaps best known for her “noted memoir,” A Maine Hamlet. The opening quotation comes from that book, and I was much struck by it.
Like Lura Beam, Clif and I are also Maine natives, going at least five generations back for both of us. We belong to Maine. It is a part of us, and we are a part of it. For most our lives, we knew the rhythms of Maine and moved knowingly through the seasons—the brilliant cold of winter; reluctant spring, which burst in a frenzy of blossoms upon us in May; beautiful summers, not too hot, not too rainy, just right; and the glory of fall, so bright and beautiful with its explosion of yellow, red, and orange leaves.
But now, with climate change, it hardly seems as if we know Maine at all. Summers so hot that we can barely stand it? September being an extension of August? Rain and 49° in January? In what universe? In this one, it seems.
We must adapt. We have no choice. But for Clif and me, two old Mainers, it is very disconcerting.